Today marks the beginning of a series dedicated to some Commissioner tools for the Madden NFL series that I think are sorely missing and why they are so desperately needed. As a seven season veteran commissioner of a PS3 Madden league, I can tell you first hand why these features are needed so badly and how they would help Madden leagues become better places to play and commish. The first one in the series I simply call Roster Control. What kills me the most about this missing commissioner tool in Madden is that, in some ways, previous Madden games had it. The latest Madden iteration I remember to allow roster control was Madden 10. That was the first Madden game that I recall the commissioner having some super-user like ability to move players between rosters as needed. I ran a relatively unsuccessful Madden league for Madden 10 and found out the hard way how difficult it can be (hence, the reason for League Crawler). The one that that was great was this roster control. That said, it lacked the necessary capabilities to really make it what it needs to be. For Madden 10, the control was basically limited to being able to drag/drop a player from one roster to another. Helpful but not perfect back then, absent now and a glaring weakness in a career mode that lacks in so many ways and even more so for the woeful person that honestly attempts to commish a good, honest league. Here is what I propose:
Complete Roster Control
Complete Roster Control would be a nuclear option that would grant the commissioner the ability to have full control over every player and every contract on every roster. The commish would also have complete control over every salary cap penalty as well (plus or minus). The way it’s set up now, the commissioner has ZERO control over what the members of their leagues do with their rosters and in an environment like CFM, where every game and every player’s salary matters, there simply is no room for what happens when a league encounters a destructive member. Contrary to the myth that leagues are just made up of friends who behave at all times and follow whatever self-imposed rules are set by their commissioners, leagues are targets for players that are looking to cause trouble (at worst) or simply unable to follow direction (at best). Again – insert the reason for League Crawler here. The bottom line is, the commissioner needs control over each contract and player on every roster to be able to protect his league from the riff-raff in the Madden community. Here’s a scenario that will explain in detail: In my Madden 13 league, I initially invited new owners via a password. Since I cannot invite via the website, I sent him the password to the league to allow him to join. By the time I got home from work, he had joined as the Eagles, dropped Dominique Rogers-Cromartie, quit as the Eagles, re-joined as the Redskins and picked up Cromartie for his new team. As I sat at work, I was stunned to realize that, as this was happening, I had ZERO control or power to stop it. What’s the big deal you ask? Well, the big deal is three-fold:
1. The player now needs to be replaced back to his team which, not surprisingly, takes a LOT of work. With no roster control I have one of two options. I can either create a dummy EA account and login as the Skins, drop Cromartie, quit, join as the Eagles and pick him back up – OR – if I don’t have, or choose not to create another EA account, I can just quit my team (thus losing all my own team’s XP and packages in the process) and proceed with the aforementioned process to get the player back to the correct team. All said and done, at least the player is back to where he belongs.
2. The second problem is the contract. In Madden 25, all new players are signed to a base, one year, non-negotiated contract. Imagine if the player that was dropped was someone like RGIII in the first year of his deal. The cap penalty to the team would be astronomical! On top of that, one I’ve restored the player back to the correct team, I have to blow up the other team’s cap penalty in the process since I have to drop him. Furthermore, because of the initial cap hit on the initial team, I can’t even say for certain that, without MAJOR finesse that I’ll even be able to get that player back to his rightful spot due to the first cap hit. Imagine you’re a new player looking to join a league, you want to join in the middle of that mess? Nope. And to anyone suggesting I simply use the reset cap tool – how fair is that to the other teams, to have a team with a pristine cap situation simply because a previous owner was an idiot?
3. The third problem is existing players unknowingly picking up the players, when available and then being caught in the middle. In a case where a destructive owner just drops players to be a jerk (commissioners every cringe – it happens) there can be an entire roster of players available. To the unaware, they simply think they struck gold! What? RGIII is available? Crazy, but score for me! Complete Roster Control would be the ability to simple edit the team of any player and their contract to avoid these issues. Let the commissioner be able to see what transactions took place and either manually edit the player’s details or provide the commissioner an “Undo” button for any transaction in the log that would do exactly that – undo the transaction in every way and restore it to how it was before the move.
If that is two difficult to implement, the alternatives could be implementing a “Can’t Cut List” for every team similar to what Fantasy Football leagues have. Another idea would be allowing the commissioner to require his approval for any transaction or specific ones.